The 5 most common mistakes in the use of cast iron pans

Raw, uncoated cast iron skillets are extremely durable and robust cookware that, when used and cared for properly, will provide many, many years of frying pleasure. However, there are some recurring, yet easily avoidable, mistakes that lead to problems (and sometimes cause users to despair) when using and caring for raw cast iron skillets.Here are the 5 most common mistakes when using cast iron skillets and how to avoid them:

1) Impatience

Being impatient is not an advantage when frying anyway. But when dealing with frying with a raw cast iron pan, it is even less so. Be it first use, regular use, care, storage... in every way, a raw cast iron pan requires some flair, cooking experience and, yes, patience. If you haven't had a raw cast iron pan before and aren't willing to learn, you won't enjoy a cast iron pan!

2) Overheating

Cast iron reacts sluggishly to temperature changes. That is, it takes some time for the cast iron to accept heat, and conversely, it then holds the heat for quite a long time when the heat source / stove is turned off. So if you go to work with haste and impatience (see point 1) and heat the cast iron pan at full power, you quickly run the risk of burning the food, because even after the stove is turned down, there is still a lot of heat stored in the cast iron.

Take special care with induction: because cast iron cannot dissipate heat as quickly as aluminum, for example, rapid heating on the induction cooktop can, in extreme cases, cause cracking in the cast iron due to thermal stresses. The power/booster function is only suitable for heating large quantities of liquid, generally not for frying and certainly not for frying with cast iron!

Tip: Butter or frying margarine are a much better indicator of the correct frying temperature due to their change of state during heating (melting, foaming, browning) than oil, which only starts to smoke when it is severely overheated. Especially in the beginning with a new pan (not only cast iron) it is advisable to fry for some time with butter or margarine to get a feeling for the heating and heat behavior of the pan. More about this here.

3) Lack of patina care

Raw cast iron pans like our Swedish brand Ronneby Bruk products are pre-seasoned at the factory. This initial seasoning layer is the basis for the patina that forms over time. As said, only the base! A new cast iron pan needs some time until a beautiful patina has formed and the pan has the optimal frying properties; this requires some patience (see point 1). By the way, the patina is constantly in a process of formation and wear due to use and is therefore never really finished. Fat nourishes the patina: so do not be too sparing with the fat; it should always cover the entire bottom. If you need / want to fry completely low-fat or even fat-free, then cast iron is unsuitable; use a non-stick pan instead.

Avoid beginner's mistakes

We strongly recommend frying insensitive foods in a new cast iron pan a few times at first. Omitting and crisping fatty bacon has proven successful.
If the first thing you do is crack an egg into the new raw cast iron pan, you won't have a great day....

4) Rusting

Too often we've seen cast iron pans sent in as complaints, saying it's a material defect when the new cast iron pan rusts after a few days....
So, iron rusts. That should be known as far as it goes. And even an iron pan can rust if you clean and store it incorrectly. The dishwasher is absolutely taboo, that must be unmistakably clear. Likewise, it is wrong to leave the pan in the rinse water or on the dish drainer after washing up.

How to avoid rust in the cast iron pan

It is very important to dry the pan thoroughly. When drying the cast iron pan, never be careless! Always take an absolutely dry and highly absorbent cloth to dry the cast iron pan all around.
Cast iron has a porous surface that can retain moisture. Therefore, we strongly recommend heating the cast iron pan again briefly on the stove (or in the oven, depending on where the pan was used) after drying to expel any residual moisture from the pores.

Fix rust stains in the cast iron pan yourself.

There is absolutely no need to panic if rust does develop in your cast iron pan. Firstly, rust / iron oxide is not harmful to health, and secondly, you can easily remove the rust with a scouring pad or wire brush. Afterwards, the pan is re-seasoned and will be as good as new!

5) Odor

A cast iron pan must always be stored in a dry and airy place, otherwise, in addition to rust, unpleasant odors may form in the pan. Never place a lid or other cookware on the cast iron pan during storage. Do not store under / next to the sink / above the stove or in other places that tend to have high humidity.